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Onkyo 607 - Set up problems with B&W Speakers

brazim01

Standard Member
Hi, new to the forum and relatively new to home cinema so I'll try to keep this as brief and simple as I am able. I have been using an out of the box THX certified surround system with my PS3, XBOX and optical out from my laptop when watching movies. The system was a logitech Z5500 and vey easy to set up and use. The sound quality (IMO) was excellent for a £200 out of the box system.

Meanwhile I have been using a Marantz PM7001 Amp and B&W P4 floor standing speakers for my stereo equipment. I've never been a massive audiophile however when I heard the P4s hooked up to the Marantz amp I was blown away and deicded to start building a decent home cinema set up using the speakers. I had to ditch the Marantz amp as it was not built for this purpose and recently bought an Onkyo SR607 and some second hand B&W 601 S2s (to use as rear speakers).

I hooked everything up today using the old logitech centre as a stop gap and ommiting the sub (as I don't have one yet) but was totally underwhelmed by the sound quality. Also, despite much fidling with settings, all speakers seem to be outputting the same audio rather than outputting in a surround format. I have mainly been playing Blu Ray discs via the PS3 with the HDMi audio set to linear PCM in the hope of hearing Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA where ever possible.

I obviously expected that the lack of a sub would make a difference but I can honestly say that my logitech system sounded a whole lot better.

With this in mind I have a few questions for anybody who has stuck with me to this point ;0):

1/ Is the perceived lack of sound quality down to the fact that I was just getting a much better quality sound out of the B&Ws with the marantz amp for stereo purposes and hence expected the same with the new amp for surround sound?

2/ Is it possible to achieve decent surround sound without a sub? (I am going to buy one at some point by the way)

3/ Is there something quirky I should be doing with the amp settings because of the lack of sub in order to achieve a surround effect?

4/ Could the age of the speakers (although they sound amazing in standard stereo) be contributing to the lack of surround quality?

5/ Is it likely that the cheap centre is the reason for the poor sound given the quality of the other speakers?

Sorry for the rambling post, any answers to these questions or just any other general dos and don't for people in my position would be a huge help,

Thanks in advance,

Mark.
 

deckingman

Prominent Member
As nobody else has stepped in, I'll say what I can but I'm not familiar some of with the specific kit you mention.

1. Possibly. The Onkyo is not noted for being the best " musicaly" but I'm not familiar with either the Onkyo or the Marantz. I doubt it would be as bad as you seem to indicate though.

2. Yes although you will miss out on some of the very low frequncy information. You only need the sub to reproduce the lowest freqencies so it should have little or no bearing on the surround channels.

3. The lack of sub should not affect the surround channels so, yes it does sound like something is not set up properly.

4. No.

5. Quite possibly. Try it without a centre. Some people happily run with no centre speaker. The centre channel information is then sent to the other two front speakers in what is known as "phantom centre". It depends on a number of factors, but in certain circumstances, can work very well indeed. In this case, I think that no centre would be better than a badly mismatched one. If it were me, I would run the P4s with no centre until funds alow.

Not familiar with your Onkyo, but try "telling it" there is no centre and no sub. Set all speakers to "Large" and run the auto setup.

With P4 fronts and 601 rears, it shouldn't sound too bad - better than the £200 one box set up I'd have thought.
 

llama

Established Member
have you run the calibration? so it can make the best of what it has?

and also, what are you feeding the amp?
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
The lack lustre performance could be due to a mismatch of clinical speakers with a clinical amp. The warmer Marantz was better matched to the clinical B&W speakers, but the Onkyo also has a clinical nature and your setup will now lack some of the depth you experienced while using the Marantz.

For a true cinema experience then I'd advise the use of an active sub. Multichannel audio such as Dolby Digital and DTS has a dedicated channel just for the Low Frequency Effects (LFE). The LFE channel is the channel that is output to an external powered sub during movie playback. It is doubtful that your speakers will be able to handle or reproduce the very low frequencies associated with the LFE channel? If there is no active sub attached, the amp distributes the lower frequencies to the other speakers, but the onboard crossovers within those speakers discards any of the frequencies they cannot handle. The LFE channel and the active sub are an integral part of getting the whole movie/cinema experience in your living room and without the sub you are missing quite a lot of that experience.
 
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brazim01

Standard Member
Thanks all, some very useful feedback and I think I'll bring forward the sub purchase to get things moving.

I have been through what I understand to be the calibration process using the Audyssey microphone (included with the amp) but I genuinely think the lack of subwoofer is the problem.

I take onboard what you are saying about the Marantz amp and following extensive reading that would appear to be a logical conclusion.

So, I'm looking for a sub and thinking the B&W AS2...any thoughts/ suggestions?

Thanks,

Mark
 

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